All three of the Wharf hotels overlook the lovely Washington Channel, boats docked or cruising along, and the East Potomac Park island, which, for 2 weeks in spring, is gorgeously aflower in blossoming cherry trees. And each property has its particular advantages. Hyatt House Washington DC/The Wharf ( is recommended for extended stays, with some suites equipped with full kitchens. Canopy by Hilton Washington DC/The Wharf (, the Hilton brand’s “lifestyle” lodging, offers complimentary artisanal breakfast and bikes and a lively mix of pop-up shops, nightly tastings, and filtered spring water stations on each floor.

I'm highlighting the largest of the three hotels, the InterContinental, because its rates were consistently the lowest as I tracked them over time (rates fluctuate obviously, so this may change). All guest rooms are spacious, measuring at least 340 square feet, and on-site amenities are a cut above, including its Afro-Caribbean restaurant, Kith and Kin; the fully equipped and waterfront-facing fitness center; and L’Occitane Spa (the InterConti is the sole Wharf hotel with a spa). The hotel’s lively, light-filled living-room-like lobby opens directly onto the Wharf’s wide strand of a walkway and the waterfront, blending pleasantly into the scene; the hotel also operates a seasonal open-air “watering hole” across this strand, so you can enjoy a drink as you people-watch. One very helpful practical feature off the lobby is a real-time monitor display of arrivals and departures of shuttles, Metro trains, jitneys, and other modes of neighborhood transportation. Not all guest rooms overlook the water; rooms on the sides and at the rear of the hotel view Maine Avenue, buildings, and passageways. Waterfront rooms with balconies are the best.